More reports on: Steel

British business secretary meets Tata Steel management

09 July 2016

UK Business Secretary Sajid Javid on Friday met Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry to discuss the proposed sale of Tata Steel's assets in the UK. Details of the meeting, which was ahead of the board meeting, were not disclosed.

Industry sources, however, indicated that there may have been some agreement on a roadmap.

''Just finished meeting with Tata Steel in Mumbai. Now off to Delhi for talks on UK / India trade,'' Javid tweeted. The Tata Steel board also met later to discuss the future of its British operations.

On Thursday, the Tata Steel UK employees union, part of the 14-million-strong Unite, threatened to go on strike against a fire sale of its more profitable speciality steel business, leaving aside the Port Talbot and UK strips plants.

In a letter written to Tata Steel management, Unite asked Tata Steel to give a binding commitment on the future of Port Talbot and its UK steel strips business.

Tata Steel was reported to be mulling a sale of the speciality steel business - such as the Hartlepool Pipe Mill unit - within the UK operations as part of its move to cut costs by 100 million euros before deciding to continue its business in the UK.

The development follows unconfirmed reports that the steelmaker was planning to pause its proposed sale of loss-making UK units, while going ahead with a separate sale of its speciality steel business and tubes operation.

The British government has been trying to help Tata Steel through special legislation aimed at lowering pension costs. It has also offered loans while investing in the business through share purchase.

Javid is also reported to have met commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi later on Friday, although it was unrelated to Tata Steel.

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